Couch to 5K
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There was a plethora of shapely lycra clad bottoms this morning (of which I was one by the way) at my 8th Richmond Parkrun. The weather was chilly, but not cold. The sky was a very bright grey with dashes of blue here and there and the vibe was it's usual buzzy self. I saw a few faces I recognised from my last run in October, and I assumed they must be weekly regulars. I kept my eyes peeled for the delicious Turbotortoise but she was nowhere to be seen this week so after crying my eyes out and thumping the ground shouting "NO! NO! NO!", I wandered down to the start line, through the mud (it was very muddy) and puddles and selected my place about 4 or 5 yards from the front. Everyone always says these runs are friendly, but oddly, as friendly as I am, I find it hard to strike up a conversation with a total stranger. This wasn't a problem for an elderly gentleman who boomed in a frightfully posh voice toward a group of runners in Club shirts ;

"I say! Are you chaps on your first Richmond Park run?"

"Yes, we're from a running club in Milton Keynes...."


"Milton Keynes"

"Oh! Jolly good! Splendid!

"We're doing 100 parkruns around the country"

"And what number are you on nowwwwww?"

"This is our 66th one."

"Well you've got a whole lot more to cover the entire country, what!!

"No, we're only doing 100."

"Ohhhhhh! Well.......welcome to Richmond!"

The last sentence was as if he owned the entire park!! People started pressing their garmins....we were off! I pressed "START" on my watch and started trotting.

Today was the first run in a week to test out my groin. It's been a bit niggley lately and I was hoping it would hold out. My initial mental state was to go for a PB, but then I thought that the strain and effort might not be the wisest of moves for my groin'age so I decided to take it steady. Or as steady as my competitive mind could handle! There were a lot of children today - very small ones at that. They looked about 7 or 8 years old and they were in great form the entire way round, running alongside their responsible adults.

Got crowded in on the narrow path heading towards Roehampton Gate and kept my position strongly and firmly, marvelling at the ponytails swishing in front of me. I love watching ponytails bob around (on women...not on men, like that dreadful oik Jimmy Bullard!) . There's something reassuringly feminine about them I find. As well as the ponytails, there was a lady in fantastic patterned running tights which held me spellbound as I was blocked in on the path. Eventually the runners thinned out and I was able to pass a few, including Patterned Tights Woman (which was sad, cos she was rather delicious) and I made my way further up the course. Heavy breathers were left and right of me and one man in a rugby shirt heaved past me, sounding like he was going to die. Then, and this could only happen in posh Richmond, a Valentines Couple were suddenly alongside me....

"Morning Serge!" The guy shouted across me to the man on my left.

"Mor.....ning" Serge tried to answer breathlessly. "How....are...phew!"

"Oh we're having an easy one to-dairrrr! Little Valentines run together!"

"Ohh.....that's....phew!....nice....." Serge was dying at the 2.5K point, breathing like his life depended on it.

Posh Valentines couple passed me, but not before the guy quoted some bloody Shakespeare -

"Oh look!" He announced to his Valentine. "There's a black gate! Reminds me of that line from The Tempest....." Wherein he proceeded to quote from The Bard's work. I let them go ahead of me in case I was infected with Poshness.

Further on around the 4K mark I could hear what sounded like a juggernauts air brakes, wheezing and squeaking loudly. It got louder and louder and then a human voice sounded - "On your left!". I looked to my left and noticed where the wheezing air sound came from. Mr Wheeze 'n Puff was trying his damndest to get past me, but he had no acceleration. Cheekily I stepped on the gas very very slightly, toying with him to catch me up. The breathing was sounding now like a car engine that needs a new fan belt....."Uuughh...w.heeeeee.....yyghhhh.....SQUEEEEEEEEEE". By now he was almost level again, talking to himself - "Come ON!.....ugh....ugh....ugh".

I'm afraid I continued my cheeky game, like a cat toying with a pygmy shrew. Ever so slightly I stretched my legs and made my stride longer. The longer strides helped my groin actually and I was careful not to over stride too long. However it was enough to defeat the poor wheezing man. I knew this because he made another sound -


By now I was heading downhill and there was no way this poor chap, whose will I had destroyed with my powerful strides and leg moves, would ever catch Competitive Me!

Cue Dr Evil laugh - "Muuuwaahhh haa haa haaaaa!!!!!"

I was on the home straight., The line was ahead of me, but suddenly I felt a heavy twinge in my groin - the dodgy one! "Oh no!" I thought. "Take it easy Dan lad. take it easy!". The finish was only 30 metres away and I had just overtaken another guy, safe in the thought that no-one would pass me in the last few metres.


Four....YES FOUR, little ankle biters came HAAAAIRRRRINNG past me at 50 mph, with no visual apparent tiredness (oh to be young!) They can't have been older than 7 years old and they made the most GLORIOUS finish! I lumbered up behind them and took my barcode tag thing from the lovely volunteer who congratulated me on finishing. I had visions of Wheezing Man sitting in the mud, way back down the track, bawling his head off and shouting to the heavens "I bloody had him! I nearly bloody had him!!"


God I'm mean. Sorry.

Still awaiting my time as stupidly, I forgot to press STOP on my watch at the finish line. I was so taken aback at being pipped by the pip squeaks that I neglected to press stop to get my time. I think it was around 27 minutes 'ish. I'll see later.

STOP PRESS : Just received time 26'34. Woohoo!!!

So there you have it! The Tale of my parkrun adventures. Ponytails, shapely bottoms, Shakespeare quotes and wheezing man. What more could you EVER want??

Have a good Valentine's Day & weekend folks. Mrs Dan liked the special chocs I got her (flowers being delivered later). We'll be having a splendid dinner with Pink Champers later too! Mrs Dan is one hell of a cook and refuses to waste money in restaurants on Valentines Day. She prefers to do that on any other day of the year!!! HA!

See y'all agin soon now,

Yer pal


21 Replies

I'm sure you had the shapliest bottom of all!!. Your Parkrun sounds much more fun than mine - funny how you get into individual battles with people who half the time don't even know they are in fight.


I know! It was my "Private Battle"!!


A brilliant and enjoyable read. Well done on that fab time too.

Last week I tried to catch a bloke at the finish and just couldn't do it - he'd been walking up to hearing me approach and then suddenly got all competitive on me. I was mortified to see him on the results table just above me firmly in the 65-69yrs category when I'm only 41!


Thank you Atalaya. And don't worry about the older gentleman pipping you at the post. Mum's the word.....

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I thennnnnng yeeeeowwwww!! Glad you had a hoot KK. I aim to pleasure.....


He he lovely tale as ever Dan! BUT, I don't believe you about your bottom, we need to see photographic evidence please...Richmond sounds a fun place to do a PR, I hardly saw a soul an mine last week, apart from the lovely Madge who stayed with me all the way - maybe I need to speed up a bit! I was overtaken too by a 6 year old on the home straight, who promptly STOPPED to pose for pictures for her Mum who was waiting for her just there... well, I couldn't spoil that could I? That's why Madge beat me by 14 seconds... that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Glad your "bits" are better in time for Valentines day, I bet Mrs D is too....


I do not doubt your "Madge" story at all! Don't you just adore the little ones energy levels? They are HILAIR!!


Oh Dan I am sitting here creased up at your way with words :-D I wish I could bottle some of your humour and open it up on a dull old day! Well done on that time, I'm sure Mr Wheezing Man must feel well and truly trounced! Enjoy your valentines dinner and take things easy re the groin x ;-)


Haha! Thanks N-e. And what a day to get the groin feeling better eh? VALENTINES DAY!!


Oh Mr Dan let that be a lesson in karma!

But sterling time old chap (in a posh accent)

Hope you ahem groin area is still ok xxx

As always thanks for the giggle!


Tis my pleasure TJ.

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Wonderful read as always Dan :) Glad to hear that the groinage is getting better :)


Fanks Zev. The good thing I've discovered about running pains is.....that they generally disappear eventually. Thank GOD!


What a gorgeous blog, and what a load of poshos you have on your parkrun!!! well done on the time, you must have been on fire...enjoy your valentines evening and I hope your groin holds out for later... ;)


Hahahahahahaha :D I'm very much amused by the thought of being infected by poshness and by your battle with the poor wheezy man :D

So pleased your niggly groiny thing is on the mend! Enjoy Mrs Dan's cooking and your pink champaign. Gotta love Valentine's Day :)


Hope you have a lovely evening Dan! * as usual i LOVED your tale, this time of parkruns, posh opposition ( not many of those at our parkrun!) and huffy-puffy people! It is fun to evesdrop on those little snippets of people's lives though! A great result, with that niggle groin too, so well done you 26mins is AMAZING! :)


Fab post Dan! So funny. I sympathise about those little ones. A 3 year old decided to run in front me on a run last week and you know what? I really did have to purposely speed up to keep up with her! Must do some more speed work!

Fantastic time there. Delighted the groin survived the run. Massage works wonders.


If you'd let me know you were parkrunning, I'd have made an effort to turn up!

Brilliant blog, really funny - I recognise all those characters. And glad everything is better, you know... (snigger).. Down There...


I forgot! I'm such a klutz. I'll text you next time...promise.


I'm not around for the next two. When you've got over the disappointment you may be cheered up by that fact it gives you more chances to beat my PB and/or not get chicked... ;-)


Love these posts.

On my first (and uptil May 9th) only 5K I was overtaken by a very geriatric gentlemen. He was well in to his 80:s and I was at the time 32 years. Humbling, no? :)


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